Irish politicians who vote in favor of abortion in proposed changes to legislation have been threatened with excommunication from the Catholic Church.

The Sunday Independent newspaper reports that the threat has been left hanging by Cardinal Brady.

When contacted by the paper he ‘refused’ to be drawn on the consequences for either Catholic ministers who introduce the legislation or those members of parliament who vote for it as it stands.

Cardinal Brady spoke to the media at a vigil for the right to life of mothers and babies at Knock Shrine in County Mayo.

Asked by the paper if a deputy who voted for the legislation as published would not automatically be excommunicated and should not therefore present himself/herself for Holy Communion, Archbishop Brady replied: “That is down the line at the moment, as far as we are concerned.

“It (our job) is to convince the electorate first of all and the legislators.”

Cardinal Brady then pointed out that the exact legislation to be introduced is not yet known.

He added: “We know what the law is about excommunication, about abortion, that’s a fact.

“But, as I say, the most important issue at this moment is to win the hearts and minds of the people of Ireland to decide with the pro-life.”

The Cardinal also described the proposed legislation as ‘morally unacceptable’ and suggested that it may amount to evil.

He said: “We’re trying to persuade them not to introduce it. In addition to doing good, we also have to oppose evil and to oppose a law that would take away fundamental rights from people. It should be opposed.”

The Knock vigil was attended by less than half an expected 10,000 crowd. Former Irish Prime Minister and Fine Gael leader John Bruton was amongst those present.

Cardinal Brady revealed: “We are planning to mobilise, in the sense of making people aware of the issues, the very important issues that are at stake in this debate and in that way they would influence those who they can influence, namely the legislators.

“But it’s a shared purpose. The legislators legislate for the common good.

“We do not think that abortion can form part of the common good at any stage and therefore we are trying to campaign to bring about that change of mind.

“The job of legislators is to legislate but I don’t think they have power over life, none of us have absolute power over life.

“They say they have got it from the people, but the people cannot give something that they haven’t got themselves, namely the power over life.

“We have certain power over our lives, but not when we come into life or when we end life.”